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Autosomal ... PLEASE help me! ;-)

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Stevo View Post
    I think in the old days many of those were informal adoptions. People tended to die early back then, and someone had to take care of the children. They were often taken in by relatives with a different surname (and thus a different y line) or even by neighbors. If the child assumed the surname of the adoptive family - voila! - instant NPE.

    Modern folk seem to love the salacious implications they find in NPEs, but one must remember the social and religious stigmas and other penalties that adulterous activities and/or fornication incurred in the past. While such things no doubt happened, I don't think they were as commonplace as some imagine.
    Learning a lot in this thread ... thanks everyone!

    OK, if I go back to the ancestor born in 1728, I am not 100% certain of his parentage, though he did live with his sister (whose birth was confirmed) at the time of his death. So it's a pretty good indication that he is the child of the ancestor that has been recorded in various genealogies.

    Now ... up until that point we have a lot of staunch churchgoers in our line. His father was a deacon of the town church, and a fine upstanding man. I can find no trace of him in military records, no will of note. The only trace of him that I have found so far is his headstone, which is still legible and it says that he died in May 1780 "in his 52nd year". There are NO OTHERS of the same surname in the cemetery, and none of his family is buried with him. They all removed to Massachusetts except for his son (my ancestor) who remained in Tolland, CT.

    He appears to have been quite sick at the time of his death, and died while under the care of his sister. (EDIT: Correction ... his SISTER died while caring for him, indicating he was contagious). His wife was then pregnant with their only son, my ancestor, who was born 3 months after his father died. So ... was my ancestor being cared for by his sister because his wife was pregnant (and therefore not wanting to risk the health of the child?), or could they have been separated because she decided to keep warm one night? 8-) She has a very common surname, and the ONLY person of that surname in the town at that time was the minister, who came from a VERY long line of ministers, and he was of an appropriate age to be her brother. Maybe she was disowned LOL.

    Sometime afterward, his wife made a neighbor the guardian of her children and it does appear as though the son lived with him for a while under contract. I thought perhaps HE might actually be the father of the child that was born in 1780 (after his father died) ... but, alas, our YDNA doesn't jive with that surname either.

    Could the break occur back then? I'd say it's possible. With the sketchiness of the records, with not being able to find ANYTHING in birth, marriage, death, census, wills, probate, or land records (and we HAVE checked), something isn't quite right with this generation. There is something being overlooked, and it could be because of the skeleton that DNA has uncovered.

    Interesting puzzle, but frustrating because I'm grasping at straws right now. That is why I am praying to the autosomal gods to be good to me. LOL
    Last edited by DeeTyler; 7 March 2010, 06:09 PM.

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    • #17
      An update ...

      I got my results from Family Finder today, and I am encouraged a bit.

      I did get three DISTANT matches ... two that appear to be 5th to distant cousins in the USA, and one that appears to be 5th to distant cousins in Poland.

      Being that my paternal grandmother was Polish, that was no surprise. However, the 5th to distant cousins with US ancestors appears to indicate that perhaps my ancestor born in 1728 (whose birth record I could not confirm, and whose wife's parents I cannot find) might be where the break occurs in the paper trail. One of the people that I match with has two surnames that occur in my own family tree since that generation. They are COMMON surnames (Baker and Williams), and they are also in the Carolinas rather than in New England. But you never know ... one of my ancestors was supposedly a sea captain that traveled the coastline from Mass to the Carolinas.

      Well, there is hope anyway!

      And, if anyone can give me info:

      The three matches that I have say that they are "5th cousins to distant cousins." The Total cM's are 35.3, 28.98, and 32.45, and the Shared DNA Segments are 11, 10, and 10 respectively in the same order. I have no idea what that means, so if someone could give me a clue that would help. LOL

      Thanks!

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      • #18
        There are a lot of ways to answer this.. I'll start out the easy way and if you need more information go from there.

        The first number is the total number of shared segments measured in centimorgans between you and your match. The second number is the size of the largest shared block between you and your match. 10 or higher is significant in determining some relationships.

        Your DNA is both a copy of some segments and mix of other segments from your parents, for each generation more DNS is mixed in leaving less that is copied down per generation. Following two cousins back to a common ancestor, if you were able to test that ancestor, you would find that same segment of DNA in him or her that you find in your match but all the rest of the DNA from that ancestor would have been recombined over generations by new mothers or fathers as they came into the mix. So if you could go back and test your common ancestor you would end up with two matches to yourself. That segment, the remainder that never changed over time, is measured in centimorgans. The bigger the segment the more DNA you have matching to someone else and the closer you would appear to be related. If you test your brother or sister for example they will have much larger segments matching you because your DNA has not had a chance to recombine from other sources in just one generation. In comparison to four or five generations there are a lot of opportunities for the DNA to recombine while leaving just a small amount of it to stay the same. The larger number tells you just how much of the all your tested DNA matches (in centimorgans) and the smaller number tells you which of those matches is the biggest segment.

        How this all works is by the processes of meiosis during reproduction where some of the DNA crosses over with the other and recombine forming new and unique coding.. Some crosses over and some does not.. The DNA that does not is going to remain the same code so to speak as the parent's it came from and over time is how you can find matches to your distant cousins.

        Hope that helps.

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        • #19
          Thanks for your reply, mkdexter!

          OK, so I got a response from the person that links in Poland, saying that their ancestors were Ashkenazi Jews. Being that we are related as 5th cousins or greater, would that then mean that somewhere in my ancestry are also Ashkenazi Jews in Poland? (Is that what this data is telling me?)

          Thanks!

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          • #20
            Originally posted by DeeTyler View Post
            Thanks for your reply, mkdexter!

            OK, so I got a response from the person that links in Poland, saying that their ancestors were Ashkenazi Jews. Being that we are related as 5th cousins or greater, would that then mean that somewhere in my ancestry are also Ashkenazi Jews in Poland? (Is that what this data is telling me?)

            Thanks!
            It could mean that you have an Ashkenazi Jewish ancestor in your family tree. Or it could mean that he has an Ashkenazi Jewish ancestor who converted from Christianity.

            The other question is how far back does he have documentation for his family tree. The common ancestor for 5th cousins would be born about 200 years before your birth. And you may be more distant cousins than 5th, which is just an estimate by FTDNA. Can both he and you document all your lines back 200 years or possibly more before your birth? There may be lines in his tree more than 200 years ago that are not Jewish; he wouldn't necessarily be aware of that.

            At the point that you contact a predicted cousin, the task becomes researching his and your family tree for some common ancestor. That common ancestor may have lived before either of you can document.
            Last edited by MMaddi; 28 April 2010, 10:48 AM.

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            • #21
              In the case of this person, all of the ancestors going back several generations are Ashkenazi Jews. I have the surnames, the only thing I have to do now is focus on my Polish ancestry to see if I come across any surnames that are common. I know my great-grandfather and great-grandmother came from Tarnow, Poland (according to his WWI registration papers), but I've been unable to find his immigration or naturalization papers. There are so many misspellings of his surname that it has been difficult to trace the line.

              I'll keep trying, though, this possibility has made it a very interesting project for me.

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